Dave Joerger on his 200th win
Throughout the season, Jason Jones answers readers’ questions about the team in a weekly Twitter mailbag. Tweet your questions with the hashtag #JonesHoldsCourt.
Q: Why are the Kings so bad at player development? Other than Boogie, who has actually gotten better while playing in Sac?
– Ryan Wheeler, @mrwheeler18
A: Some of these problems in the past have been due to a thin staff, poor choices in players and the general lack of stability that did not provide the environment for players to develop.
DeMarcus Cousins succeeded in spite of this, but he's also a rare talent who would stand out in almost any situation. The same could be said about Isaiah Thomas.
The Kings have a much-better staff these days, so I'm willing to give this group a chance to show it can develop players. Vlade Divac's first draft was 2015, so in a couple years, we should be able to fairly assess if the problems of the past are no longer concerns.
George Karl would sometimes say a team has to be able to "make" a player, or turn an unsung player into a contributor to aid improvement. Philadelphia, for example, did that with Robert Covington. The Kings have not done that, either, and doing so will be key to their future.
Willie Cauley-Stein, Skal Labissiere, Buddy Hield and the four picks from last year's draft will the case study for Divac's plan to fix that part of the Kings.
Q: I feel like the kings have always lacked an identity (uptempo or pound it inside). What will they look to do in order to address this problem?
– New, @greg11307
A: It's difficult for the Kings to define a playing style when a bulk of the players are trying to figure out who they are. The Kings want to play at a fast tempo, share the ball and be active on defense, but who doesn't want that?
Having a roster full of players who can play a running style is important, and that will continue to be a focus. Most of this season, the Kings have not been able to play that way and have been one of the worst scoring teams in the NBA.
Bogdan Bogdanovic has an understanding of how the Kings should play, and coach Dave Joerger has praised De'Aaron Fox's basketball IQ. Since they are the primary ballhandlers to start games, that's a good place to begin.
Q: You answered this a bit but, what is your feeling about how the Kings attack free agency? Any RFAs they go after? We've heard they won't lock up long term money this summer, but why not if the talent is young enough? (Parker, Gordon, Hezonja, etc)
– LLcoolRay, @LLcoolRay14
A: The Kings' interest and pursuit of Otto Porter last summer proved they are willing to go after the right restricted free agents if they fit the long-term vision (young, plays a position of need). The problem is those kind of players almost always have any deals matched by their original team.
There was no way Washington was going to lose Porter last summer. So while Aaron Gordon, Rodney Hood, Julius Randle or Clint Capela might be appealing, the Kings would probably have to offer max-type money for a player they do not value as a max player to deter a matching offer. Then they'd be stuck with a bad contract.
That's why it makes more sense to focus on possible unrestricted free agents like Mario Hezonja.
Q: Does Jack Cooley deserve a statue at G1C?
– Tomas Kassahun, @TomasKassahun
A: Yes. No further discussion needed.
And for this week's non-Kings question:
Q: What's the best match WWE can put on? I say Balor v. Styles with a full lead up
– Dustin, @DThrill55
A: Finn Balor vs. A.J. Styles would be a good one. Not sure I can top that one. I think Seth Rollins vs. Styles would be good, too. Basically, I'm fine with any match involving any of those three.